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SC adjourns Dalit Christian quota case hearing PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Correspondent   
Tuesday, 22 January 2008

ImageNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on 23 January 2008 adjourned the hearing of the Dalit Christian Reservation case in response to the Additional Solicitor General seeking eight weeks’ time to make a decision on the 58 year old demand.

The council of lawyers appealed to the court to restore the Scheduled Caste status to all Dalits irrespective of religion. The Dalit Christians also kept mounting pressure due to frustration from not getting their demand.

The constitutional rights are denied to Dalits converted to the Christian faith. The Constitution protects every Indian citizen from discrimination based on race, faith, religion, colour and region. But the Presidential Order of 1950 goes against the constitution rights, as it takes away the scheduled caste status from Dalits converted to Christianity and Islam.

Dalit Sikhs and Dalit Buddhists gained their scheduled caste status with the amendment of Article 341 Para 3 in 1956 and later in 1990. The Centre has time and again assured to restore the Scheduled Caste status to Dalits Christians. The commissions set up by the Government have found that the socio-economic and educational backwardness of Dalits converted to other religions is not different from Hinduism.

The National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, known as the Misra Commision, set up by the United Progressive Alliance Government to study the socio-economic and educational of Dalit Christians, has recommended to extend the reservation to all Dalits irrespective of religion.

At the hearing in November 2007, the Supreme Court directed the petitioners to seek the opinion from the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. The Dalit Christian delegation has been assured of a favourable response from Buta Singh, the Chairman of the Commission.

In the studies conducted by the Misra Commission, social scientists, activists, journalists and scholars have found that conversion from/to any religion, could not remove the caste stigma. Dalits in all religions suffer socio-economic and educational backwardness. According to them, restoration of scheduled caste status to all Dalits irrespective of religion will be the sign of true democracy, secularism and constitutional guarantee to all citizens of India.

Last Updated ( Monday, 18 February 2008 )
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